Italy's Luna Rossa Forfeits Louis Vuitton Cup Round-Robin Opener In Rules Protest
An America's Cup yachting event "already marred by tragedy was stung again in its first race" on Monday when Italy's Luna Rossa boycotted the challengers' Louis Vuitton Cup round-robin opener in a rules protest, with the Italians "refusing to race until an international jury rules on its protest against a late change to a rudder design rule," according to THE AUSTRALIAN. Luna Ross skipper Max Sirena said, "We have been forced into this position. We did not come to San Francisco to watch races, but to race." It was a "lackluster start for an event set to last until late September," when defending champion Oracle "will face one of three challengers in the America's Cup proper." Sirena said that Regatta Dir Iain Murray "exceeded his authority to impose some of the 37 safety rules created in the wake of British sailor Andrew Simpson's death in May without approval from all of the competing teams." Rivals have complained that "Oracle was handed an advantage by the rudder design rule change because it has trained with the new design." An int'l jury is expected to rule on the rules protest this week. Sirena: "By racing under these rules, enforced by the regatta director with race notices 185 and 189, we would somehow silently approve them. This is not the case. Therefore we have no choice but to stay ashore until the international jury has reached a decision on the matter." (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/9).